"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Stevens, Willard T. a veteran lumberman of Rhinelander, Oneida County, who has also for a number of years been a prominent political figure in northern wisconsin, he having served for a number of years as state senator, was born in Beetown, Grant County, Wis., son of Daniel B. and Mary C. (BARTLETT) STEVENS. The father was also a man of note. He was a native of Paris, Oxford County, Maine, born Jan. 24, 1837, and was a grandson of Thomas STEVENS, who was a sergeant in the Revolutionary War. He was educated in an eastern academy and came to Wisconsin in the spring of 1858, first locating at Prairie du Chien, whence he moved to Grant County in the same year. In 1864 he became a resident of Cassville, this county, entering into the lumber business as proprietor of a saw mill, which he operated for a number of years, at the same time serving in various public capacities of a local kind until in 1882 he was elected to the legislature from Grant County. In 1888 he came to Rhinelander and erected a large saw mill, his sons Charles and Willard T. being associated with him in its operation. He continued in the lumber business until 1917, when he sold the mill to his son Willard T., and has since made his home in St. Marys, Idaho, with his daughter, Mrs. FLAGG. Daniel B. STEVENS served terms in the State Assembly, from 1908 to 1913. He and his wife Mary C. were the parents of six children, namely: George L., now in Florida; Willard T., of Rhinelander; Frank J., residing in Alabama; Charles D., who lives in Coeur 'd Aene, Ida; Mary C., who married Albert DUNN and lives in Seattle, wash.; and Lucy B., now Mrs. Edward FLAGG of St. Marys, Idaho. Willard T. STEVENS as a youth attended school in Cassville and later a commercial college at Dubuque, Iowa. when he with his father and brother Charles moved to Rhinelander and started their sawmill here, he was made president of the company and has held that office ever since. The company conducted camps in this country near State Line and one camp at Parrish for seven years. About 1912 Charles STEVENS moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and since that time the Stevens mill has sawed for the Mason-Donaldson Co., employing from 60 to 125 men, according to whether it is operated during the day time only or is run day and night. In May, 1917, the mill was burned down, but was immediately rebuilt. It was again burned in May, 1922, which caused a suspension of operations, but plans are now under way for rebuilding it again. Willard T. STEVENS in 1896 was elected sheriff of Oneida County, and again in 1906. Before his second election as such he had begun taking an active part in politics, his activities not being confined to his own county, as he was a member of the Republican State Central Committee in 1904, 1905 and 1906. In April, 1912, he was elected state senator to fill the unexpired term of James A. WRIGHT, who had died while in office. He was subsequently re-elected in the fall of 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915 and 1916, from the 30th district, and at the end of his last term (1918) was the second oldest member and president pro-term of the Senate. He showed a particular interest in the good road movement, and it was due mainly to his influence that the road from Merrill through Irma and Rhinelander to Woodruff was put on the Federal Trunk System. He was also instrumental in getting the Normal School site for Rhinelander, and construction of the building being delayed only because of Governor PHILIPP'S oppostion to appropriations for normal schools. During his last term in the Senate he voted for the eight-hour day and at all times showed himself in favor of the enforcement of labor laws for women and children. He was very active on committees during the participation of this country in the World War, doing good patriotic service, and he has been a member of the Police and Fire Commission ever since it was organized. In addition to his lumber interests he is a stockholder in the Wisconsin Veneer Co. and the Oneida National Bank. As a Free Mason Mr. STEVENS belongs to the Blue Lodge, Consistory, Shrine and Chapter, and he is also a member of the local Elks lodge. As a citizen of Rhinelander for 35 years, he has taken a very prominent part in the development of the town, and while advancing his own fortunes has manifested a strong public spirit, doing many things for the good of the community which brought no immediate or direct advantage to himself save as a member of that community, and he and his family enjoy a high social standing therein. Mr. STEVENS was married July 11, 1888, at Cassville, Wis., to Katherine GRIMM, daughter of Herman and Elizabeth GRIMM, who are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. STEVENS occupy a fine residence at 228 Clark Street. They attend the Congregational Church, in which Mrs. STEVENS is a very active worker.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 417-418, History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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